1969 Six Hours of The Glen: The Start of Something Great
This year marks the 30th running of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and when the drivers of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series take to the track on Saturday, June 4, they will be looking to add their names to the very long list of significant moments that make up The Glen’s history. Ever since the first running of the famed endurance racing in 1968, fans have left Watkins Glen International with life-long memories more times than they can count. While it is almost impossible to rank these moments against each other, there are three Six Hours of The Glen races that tend to stand out over the others. The 1969 Six Hours of The Glen was such a race and featured the start of a legendary career as well as a dominating performance.
Peter Gregg, racing veteran and owner of Brumos Porsche, came across a young, unproven driver at a local autocross event in Jacksonville, FL, months before the Six Hours at The Glen. The unknown driver’s talents persuaded Gregg to purchase a Porsche 911S, obtain a NASCAR license and vouch for his young prodigy. This decision would have a dramatic impact on the landscape of sports car racing for the next 50 years. The soon to be racing icon would make his sports car racing debut in the 1969 Six Hours of The Glen and team with Gregg to take eighth place overall and first-place in the GT 2000 class. This would not be his only victory at The Glen as he would go on to claim a record seven victories at the legendary road course. The young driver’s name was Hurley Haywood.
Haywood was inducted into The Legends of The Glen in 2009 where was acknowledged for his astonishing career at The Soul of American Road Racing. While he was honored for his accomplishments at WGI, Haywood’s name fills record books around the world. After making his professional racing debut in 1969 in the Six Hours of The Glen, Haywood would go on to become a five-time winner of the 24 Hours At Daytona and a three-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Haywood accomplished an incredible feat – the first driver to win the 24 Hours At Daytona and the 24 hours of Le Mans in the same year. He remains as the only driver to repeat as winner of both races in a single season.
The impact of Haywood’s’ appearance may have been lost on fans at the time, but it is certainly acknowledged as one of the most poignant moments in The Glen’s Six Hour history. Those fans did witness quite a race though.
Approximately 35,000 fans in the stands watched dominating performances by Porsche 908s with the top three finishers behind the wheel of one. Not only were the victorious duo of Brian Redman and Jo Siffert in a Porsche 908, the most significant challenger was as well. While Redman was battling a failing wheel bearing in the final hour, Vic Elford co-drove a Porsche 908 with Richard Attwood and Tony Dean to second place. Redman and Siffert led every lap en route to victory.
The race had been expanded to six hours the season prior and was part of the World Sports Car Championship, serving as an American Round of the WSC along with the 24 Hours at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.Tickets for the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen international are on sale Now! Fans may order their tickets or get more information about the 2011 race season at WGI by calling the ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or visiting the official website, www.TheGlen.com. Gift certificates and track merchandise may be purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. The Shop is open Monday-Sunday 9-5. Keep up with all of the latest happenings at The Glen by visiting the official Watkins Glen International Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/watkinsgleninternational and following WGI on Twitter, @WGI.